Monte dei Paschi communications chief David Rossi found dead

Monte_dei_Paschi_di_Siena.svgDavid Rossi, the head of communications at troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was found dead Wednesday evening in an apparent suicide.

Rossi was found on the street under his office window at the bank’s headquarters in Siena. A bank employee found Rossi’s office window open and called an ambulance, but Rossi was declared dead when emergency services arrived. Police have not yet announced an explanation for his death, but several crushed notes were found in his trashcan, The New York Times reports.

Alessandro Profumo, Monte dei Paschi’s chairman, and Fabrizio Viola, the bank’s director general, issued a joint statement on Thursday, praising Rossi’s “sensitivity, professionalism and his bond to the bank.”

“For all these reasons, we confirmed and renewed our trust in him as head of communications, a role he has fulfilled with utmost competence and dedication, even in this particularly delicate phase,” the statement said, according to The New York Times. “This event, albeit tragic, renews and strengthens the intensity of our determination to move on in the journey that we undertook.”

Rossi had been under stress due to ongoing official investigations into the circumstances of the bank’s $5.3 billion bailout from the Italian government. Many bank executives, who were once well-respected members of Siena, suffered reputational damage after the bank’s problems surfaced last year.

Rossi was the spokesman for Giuseppe Mussari, the former chairman of the bank who has been targeted in the official investigation. While Rossi has not been accused of wrongdoing, police searched his home and office last month, The New York Times reports.

In 2009, under Mussari’s leadership, Monte dei Paschi was acquired by Italian bank Antonveneta for $11.7 billion, a price considered by analysts to be extremely inflated and one that left the bank financially weak. The bank later attempted to hide mounting losses by engaging in undisclosed transactions with Nomura and Deutsche Bank.

Last week, the bank filed suit against Nomura and Deutsche Bank, seeking damages associated with the transactions. The bank also announced that it had filed suit against Mussari and Antonio Vigni, the bank’s former CEO, for their roles in the transactions, according to The New York Times.

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